FINGERS IN FLIGHT
In the hot seat at FOH, Jordan Babev appeared very much at home in his second year as Editors’ lighting designer. A genuine fan of the band since their early days, he joined the crew in 2017 and the ‘Greatest Hits’-focused Black Gold tour gave him the opportunity to visually represent the Birmingham combo’s entire career journey.
“When I heard their first album [2005’s The Back Room], I was immediately impressed by the strong, industrial flavours coming out in their music. Approaching the design for this tour, I was inspired again by that imagery and featured rusted metal in the stage design, framing it with a more modern and dynamic approach to the lighting.”
Jordan’s first thought was to design a floor set upstage of the band, with lights beaming out from behind metal grilles that were painted to look oxidised. He then identified the need for a looming, almost threatening presence above the band, and settled on the idea of six truss fingers that would be moved slowly in a vertical plane on Kinesys motors within a range of nine metres, sometimes as low as 2.5m from the stage deck.
“Those fingers came so close to the band during the show; it been quite a shock at times although everything was perfectly safe,” said the LD, who was assisted in the UK by Entec’s crew chief Simon Chandler-Honnor and lighting technician Andrew Banks. “When they were in their lowest position, the stage became extremely narrow and wide like a letterbox – a strange but extremely effective look. One of my favourite moments in the show was when the truss fingers were moving constantly throughout the song ‘Eat Raw Meat’, looking like a slow-motion Mexican Wave.”
The overhead truss elements, their accompanying fixtures and motors formed the major portion of Entec’s package on the UK dates, with Outback Rigging taking the reins of the Kinesys automation. Each truss finger was rigged with Martin Atomic 3000 strobes, Claypaky HY B-EYE K25 wash lights, Martin MAC Vipers and molefay cells. At Wembley Arena, Entec added 10 Solaris Flare Q+ fixture to the mother grid to highlight the movement of the fingers.
“I was looking for something really powerful so I had way more strobes than I might normally use,” explained Jordan, a grandMA2 light user, for whom Entec supplied a back-up to his own console.
As well as the truss fingers, a vertical truss at each side of the stage carried a bank of additional HY K25 washes to illuminate a backdrop created by Jordan to display textures including concrete, brass and metal, that forged the impression of a dirty, corroded back wall. At the top of the truss holding the backdrop, a row of 15 GLP impression X4 Bar 20 battens offered tight, narrow beams that, together, resembled a theatrical light curtain.
When the UK leg climaxed at Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom on March 3rd, more dates were to follow in Greece, the Ukraine and Russia but they, along with numerous festivals including Glastonbury – where Editors were due to appear in June – fell victim to the escalating COVID-19 crisis.
“Everything was cancelled virtually overnight and, looking back, I can’t believe that we managed to get that tour in,” observed Nick Ingram. “We were travelling around Europe literally a week before the whole nightmare exploded so we were very, very lucky. We are, however, left with the satisfaction that this was one of one of the best tours Editors have ever done. The performances and reactions were sensational and we can’t wait to get back and do it again.”
Photography by Joe Okpako • https://www.projoe.photography